Sunday, 9 October 2016

My Design Process - 'Something Special'

As a designer I often get asked how I create my images and if I draw everything by hand. I thought it might be fun to answer these questions in this blog post to give you a quick overview of the process of how I work to create my designs. 

At the moment I'm working on a new range of greetings cards, which is something a bit different for me... but the process for each design is similar to how I work for creating all surface pattern designs or placement graphics for products. The starting point is always an idea. Sometimes this comes in the form of a client brief and sometimes it's the spark of an idea in my head. For these greetings cards I decided I wanted to create a range of cards based on my existing typography range, 'Well Hello There!', but with sentiments that were more focussed on the greetings card market. Often at this stage I create an ideas board, but because the look of the new range is to follow existing designs I simply reviewed the existing work as shown above and researched the greetings market. After making a list of possible different sentiments to include in my new range I set to work in my sketchbook...

So do I draw everything by hand? - The answer is yes! Every design I create starts out as a doodle or a sketch. Normally I will roughly mark designs out in pencil working out the layout / composition... I like to have fun with typography letting my imagination run wild to draw whatever letter shapes pop into my head. I also love geometrics and these often creep into my compositions!

Then once I am happy I outline everything using my trusty fineliner pens! I like to create wonky lines as I feel these give my designs texture and character, so I use a very fine nib, but go back over the lines several times before block filling large areas with a Sharpie and adding any extra detail the design requires. 

At this stage I transfer the design from my sketchbook to my computer to work it up into final artwork. Once in Adobe Illustrator I use the 'Live Trace' function, which converts my drawing into a fully scalable vector file, which is ideal for factories to work from because it can be easily re-sized to fit any product without losing any of my original detail, or the warm appeal of my original hand drawn image. It is also an ideal format for me to add colour. 

I can quickly and easily try out different colour pallets until I find the one that best suits my design. I love to use bright and vibrant colour combinations that really make my designs stand out! For this range I decided to use the same pallet as 'Well Hello There!', but I have mixed the colours together differently within each piece to create a range that has a real colour pop!
When I have chosen a colour pallet I am happy with I can set to work colouring each element of the design individually. 

This is also a perfect time to add in extra textures. I love to create a slight distressed look to my artwork and often use a textured background grid as part of my signature style. This stage takes time and patience, but because I use pantone colours it means that my finished artwork not only looks fun and appealing, but all my designs are factory ready, which makes things much easier for manufacturers when it comes to using my designs across different products for production.

When I am happy that the design is ready, my final stage is to create a mock-up visual in Adobe Photoshop of how the design will look as a product ready for presentation. 

This card celebrates moving house and is part of my brand new range called 'Something Special'. 

If you are an art director / manufacturer who would like to review my portfolio please contact my agents, Jewel Branding & Licensing for further information. 
(Beth Franklin - 

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Back To School!

Today is the first day back for many UK schools after the long summer break. Part of going back for me was always the excitement of buying new school stationery - I have always LOVED buying new pens and trying them out to see what effects I can create!

My first design job was working in-house for stationery company, Helix, which was so much fun as I got to work on all the new product development for all their lovely back to school stationery each year. The company is now Maped-Helix, but they remain one of my favourite freelance clients as the design briefs they give me are always so creative and fun!

Maped-Helix recently sent me some of their 'Graph'Peps' fine point pens to try out, which come under their Maped brand.* In honour of the back to school period I thought I would make a little doodle film to show what they are like to draw with. The film shows the first time I used them, so you can see I took to them quite easily - they allow lots of control. My favourite was the black, because I always prefer to draw in black ink. I get scared at having to make colour decisions on the spot, which is one of the reasons I normally colour on the computer as it lets me change my mind until I get the perfect colour combination. However, there are 20 different colours in my pack, so I decided to be brave and try some (- not all!) of them out. I used two different shades of pale blue, yellow, lime green, lilac and the brightest pink, but there are lots of other colours to choose from! The pen nibs are 0.4mm, which creates quite a fine line, but by going back over the same line and outlining it you can create lots of different line effects. The ink flow is strong meaning that as well as outlining designs you can also use them to colour in areas too. There may be too much ink coming out of the nib for super-fine work, but for bold graphic designs like my doodle they are great!

Wishing everyone who is back to school this week a very happy term. (Not long until Christmas!)

Music by
*Please note Maped-Helix have not paid me to review this product.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Surtex and Licensing Expo Recap

It's been great to hear from my agents, Jewel Branding, that the summer shows at Surtex, New York and Licensing Expo, Las Vegas were a resounding success with lots of exciting companies visiting the stand and many of them choosing to view my portfolio with the possibility of becoming licensing partners in the near future! Jewel have kindly shared with me some photos of their booths, which I'm sure you'll agree looked absolutely fantastic!

First, are some images of the booth at Surtex, where each of the Jewel designers were asked to format their designs into hexagons, which were then used to create a really striking stand display. How many of my designs can you spot in the photos below?!

And below are images of the stand at Licensing Expo, where some of my designs were shown on large digital display screens.  

If you missed the shows, but would like to view my full portfolio please contact Beth Franklin - 

Photographs copyright Jewel Branding & Licensing. All artwork copyright Vicky Yorke, Vicky Yorke Designs. 

Monday, 4 July 2016

Happy 4th of July!

A little video of me doodling for all my friends in the USA, including my agents, Jewel Branding & Licensing. Have a wonderful day!


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Saturday, 18 June 2016

Licensing Expo, Las Vegas

Following on from the success of Surtex in New York last month, my agents, Jewel Branding & Licensing will be exhibiting at another major art licensing show this week - Licensing Expo in Las Vegas, which runs from 21st - 23rd June. I've been extremely busy preparing for this show over the last few months and in addition to my portfolio shown at Surtex, I have now added over 50 brand new pieces of art including repeat patterns, illustration and typography! These pieces add to existing ranges, as well as making up 6 completely new themed ranges, with designs suitable across many different product areas. There are designs for everyday including my 'Geometrico' range, which was developed from sketchbook doodles created while travelling around Italy earlier in the year ( - shown above). 'Mosaic' (- below) is loosely inspired by the current trend for colouring book art and mixes black and white geometric line drawings with bright pops of colour for a really fun collection.

Another new range, 'Harvest' uses a warm Autumnal colour pallet combined with images from nature including sunflowers, leaves and vegetables. The range has been designed both with everyday product in mind, but also with the dual purpose of being ideal for seasonal product at Thanks Giving! 

I have added a number of new Christmas themed designs to my portfolio including motifs such as Christmas trees, snowflakes, baubles and woodland animals, as well as a selection of Christmas inspired typography. While some designs feature a more traditional colour pallet to appeal to a broad audience, I have additionally created designs with my signature style bright colour 'pop' for a really fun and modern look! 

There is so much more to see! Visit Jewel Branding at Licensing Expo booth J101 to view my full portfolio. Or, if you can't make the show contact Beth Franklin ( ) for more information. 

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Surtex Begins!

The day designers have been working hard towards for months is finally here. Surtex begins today in New York! I'm so sad not to be there in person, but I'm wishing my agents, Jewel Branding & Licensing a truly great day! I know they are going to do such a great job representing me!

For those of you visiting the show over the next few days I have lots of new designs for you to see including my quirky hand drawn typography range, Well Hello There! which playfully mixes pattern and inspirational phrases.
I have many designs inspired by my love of travel and artwork from around the world. For example, my La Dolce Vita series of designs aims to capture the wonderful essence of Italy, while my Global collection references tile patterns from around Europe.
Closer to home my Fruits of the Forest designs were inspired by my love of the English countryside around my home in Worcestershire...
There is much, much more to see, so if you're in New York for the show please pop by booth 417 and take a look at my full portfolio. (You can add me to your show planner here).

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Maped Helix - The Stationery Show 2016

The Stationery Show 2016 took place in London at the end of April (26th - 27th) and I was thrilled to receive these photos from stationery experts, Maped Helix this week, which show one of my designs in action! 

Several months ago I was asked by Maped Helix to create a design for a giant colouring page to be used at the show to demonstrate their adult colouring products, which include colouring pens and pencils. The brief was to create a unisex design, which incorporated geometric and mandala style elements that would work around their existing 'National Stationery Week' typography. There was a huge amount of drawing involved in the design to make sure that the illustration remained detailed even at an enlarged scale and this kept me busy and very happy for several days! 

I loved working on this project and am so happy to see my illustration featuring in the wonderful stand design as well as seeing how much fun people had colouring it in!

Many thanks to Maped Helix for providing these photos. Images copyright Maped Helix 2016.